Review Summary: Jack White: the last hope for blues?
I want to start this off by saying, go easy on me this is my first review! I was a fan of The White Stripes while growing up so have been a Jack White fan ever since. When Blunderbuss came out I was hooked on songs such as “I’m Shakin” and “Sixteen Saltines”. I thought the album was really good but didn’t age well. I am hoping Lazaretto is different and so far so good. I actually do enjoy this album more than I enjoyed Blunderbuss. As other reviewers have mentioned it’s awesome to hear artists/bands that haven’t forgotten their roots. Blues music has been around since the end of the 19th century and was a staple in music for the majority of the 20th century, but now a days hearing blues music is very rare. This is where the likes of Jack White, and his arch-rivals The Black Keys, come to save the day.
Lazaretto starts off with a track that feels like something off of blues CD from Muddy Waters or Buddy Guy. “Three Women” has the blues feel to it with lyrics to match about Jack having women in Detroit, California, and Nashville. One of the greatest things about this album in my opinion is his use of numerous instruments. Just in the first song you hear the organ, slide guitar, piano, and his guitar rocking it. Lordy, Lord is right Jack. 5/5
The second track is another killer and the title track on the album. Lazaretto is one of my favorites on this CD, it combines White’s classic squealing guitar with blues and what sounds like an influence from the hip hop community. It takes only about a minute and a half until White is taking over the track with one of many memorable solos. 5/5
The third track “Temporary Ground” is a country track with Lillie Mae Rische on the fiddle (another instrument) and singing backup. This song is a clear change of pace from the first two much faster/powerful songs. At first listen I didn’t enjoy it much but after a few listens it has grown on me. 4/5
The fourth track “Would You Fight for My Love” may be my favorite on the whole CD. It starts off slow, but becomes a very upbeat song with heavy use of the piano. It packs power with not only the piano but with the numerous great guitar segments. The lyrics in this one are clearly emotional and sound like a song about an ex-lover. 5/5
The fifth track is “High Ball Stepper”, an instrumental that White rocks. It runs a tad long in my opinion at nearly four minutes but awesome use of his abilities throughout. 4/5
The sixth track is “Just One Drink” which sounds like a B-Side from a Rolling Stones CD. When I first heard it I actually envisioned Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rocking this song back in the day. Pretty short track that doesn’t really seem like it fits on this album. I do enjoy this song and think it’s cool that White shows he isn’t a one-trick pony but just has a weird feeling on this part of the CD. 4/5
The seventh track is “Alone in my Home”; we are at the part of the album where White slows down a tad. Again another emotional song that has a folky feel to it. Another card up his sleeve per say. 3.5/5
The eighth track is “Entitlement”; this is most likely my least favorite song on the album. Very slow, little boring, good lyrics save it from being a complete waste. 3.0/5
The ninth track is “That Black Bat Licorice”, and just like that the album again has picked up speed. ‘Black Bat’ is the, for lack of a better word, funkiest track on this album. Its fast, it’s loud, and it’s hectic. This track packed a punch the first listen and is one of my favorites. “I spit it out, whatever’s in my mouth” 4.5/5
The tenth track is “I think I found the Culprit” which sounds more like White’s material with the White Stripes. Piano and acoustic guitar are the staples on this song. 3.5/5
The final track is “Want and Able”; much like “Entitlement” this track isn’t one of the better on the CD. Kind of slow and incorporates a very lazy guitar in the background. 3/5
I have always thought the point of a review is to not only get clarity on your opinion but to see what others think. I initially rated this album a 4.5/5 but after this review I have lowered it to a 4/5 so I think I have more clarity in terms of what I think of this album. It’s still a very solid album and one I would highly recommend to anyone that likes blues music and rock n roll. Is it possible Jack White is the last hope for the blues genre? I think so.